Mumbai: The Uttar Pradesh government wants to bring madrassas into the mainstream education system, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mohsin Raza said on Monday.
The Uttar Pradesh minister also favoured introducing a "new dress code" for students at madrassas (Islamic schools) across the country and added that he will take up the issue with the Centre. However, Raza did not elaborate on what should be the new dress code in these institutes, where students currently wear white kurta-pyjama.
He rued that no leader from his community has till date thought about standardising the madrassa system.
"Our government in Uttar Pradesh wants to bring madrassas in the mainstream education system. And why only in UP, I think all these religious institutions across the country should be brought into mainstream," he told PTI.
Raza said he intends to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I would meet Modiji in this regard and seek his advise on how we can have a formal education system in madrassas in the country. Regrettably, so far, no Muslim leader has ever thought about standardisation and formalisation of the madrassa education system," he said.
Last month, Raza had said that the Uttar Pradesh government might "soon propose a new dress code" for madrassa students.
However, Cabinet Minister for Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary had contradicted Raza, saying that "the government has not formed any new policy" in this regard.
Raza was in the city to take part in the 'Kajari' festival organised by an NGO run by Mumbai BJP leader Amarjeet Mishra.
The minister said the Yogi Adityanath government is sincerely implementing the vision of 'sabka saath sabka vikas' (support of all, development of all) and has made "never before provisions" to uplift minorities in the country's most populous state. "Around Rs 4,000 crore was allocated for minority welfare in this year's budget. This kind of allocation has not been done before. Besides, we have restarted disbursing education loans to minority students, a practice shunned by previous governments. "We plan to modernise madrassas and have introduced the NCERT curriculum for them. We want to see a computer in one hand and the Koran in the other hand of madrassa students as envisioned by our prime minister," he said.
Raza, a member of the Legislative Council, said under Modi's leadership, the country has embarked on the path of progress. To a query, he sought to downplay talks about a likely alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh for the next Lok Sabha polls.
Such an alliance will have no impact on the BJP's electoral prospects, the minister said.
"All opposition parties are zero. But as you know addition of only zeroes will never add up to a countable number. Modiji's model of governance was discussed even in Pakistan. This proved Modiji is a world leader," Raza said. He rejected the opposition's claim of saffronisation of institutions in the state under the BJP rule. "Even the Sun begins the day with saffron colour and ends with the same colour. This energising colour should not be confined with a particular religion," the minister said. Raza, a former Ranji cricketer, termed incidents of violence by cow vigilantes as a "conspiracy" against the BJP by its opponents.
"These are the outcomes of a conspiracy hatched by our opponents. But the good thing is that governments (at the Centre and states) and courts have taken a tough stand against (such incidents) and no one will be spared," he said.